tv [untitled] October 20, 2012 10:00pm-10:30pm PDT
the communities, how we're doing it and sue on. -- so on. and are people showing up and are we educating them on the issues. that's the big thing for us. if we were to do anything constructive over the next year is to kind of accomplish that. the other aspect of it is if i am -- the people who are traditionally caught up on this, the staff, people who have necessarily been around the department a lot and don't know how to get down to the counters, where to go and so on. do we have kind of a system in place that kind of channels those type of people to the likes of you to the right inspectors rather than going down there, being pushed around the place, don't know where they're going, but no thought of -- just the fact -- one of the ideas i know commissioner mar brought, one of the ideas do we have once a month the particular counter people can go to get educated, things like that. these are the types of accessible issues that these
people are trying to solve. so, just throwing that out there. i don't know if there's an answer to that. >> i get questions on a daily basis from small business people and architects about accessibility questions, and they are referred to me from staff when they're at plan check or even at technical services which is one other person who has the cat certification is. we have two people, one person is in technical services answer questions, and then myself who is in the disabled access division, being the secretary of the disabled access. and being the secretary of disabled access commission and answering complaints when we get complaints from the public about accessibility, that's one of the duties i have. so, generally the complaints that i receive are from public
who actually want access. there's kind of two different tracks here. there's the councilwoman platectionv where people want access and then there's the lawsuit-driven complaints, which i don't hear much about, unfortunately until the person comes in and is trying to obtain a permit. >> commissioner walker. >> i know it's a lot to ask of staff sometimes, but we do have a lot of the commissioners are helping with, like fairs when we have a table at the fairs and go out into the community. it may be an opportunity to actually do outreach on accessibility, especially when we're in those areas where there's a lot of retail of commercial uses that might be susceptible, the castro fair, fulton street fair. there's a lot of those type of activities where we could make sure we have the expertise at the booth because i think -- i
would imagine that would be something that people would come up and really want to talk about. >> commissioner? >> this comment is probably directed to our director tom, tom huey. what i think i'm hearing is that we are investing a lot of money and time to have inspectors certified as cats inspectors. and to me, i like to see something beyond what we normally do. i know training them with new knowledge, new ideas, we're looking for new ways of doing things. we're investing in these cast inspectors. we like to see something in the public. perhaps we can do a new outreach program, one thing i here is an outreach program. maybe it should be completely new steps, new program, new ideas, new ways of doing things instead of just accepting complaints and referring them
to cats inspectors. that's what i think we're looking for. >> yeah, i agree with all the commissioners' comments. that's what my idea, always want to first start with the brown bag lunch, invite all the small business come in. the second program, we may try and outreach in the neighborhood or whatever, and then try to get more handouts. also, when we have accessibility issues, we have unusual one, we also consult with technical service [speaker not understood]. they are all expertise on those areas. because no man knows everything. that's why we always consult each other, how do we solve the issue. the outreach program is definitely a top priority to do it. right now i try to get the information to get the brown bag lunch first to get more people into the building.
>> and i don't know we have -- i was watching channel 26 and there was a small business presentation on accessibility there, but it was just the other night. i don't know how recent that was. i know the small business commission is trying to look at that as well. it is is the director here for the small business? * maybe this is unfair, but there was some presentation down there. i didn't get a chance to watch it all. two small businesses on accessibility issues and so on. was that part of the small business commission? >> that was -- good morning, commissioners. regina dickens, director of office of small business. that was combined workshop with supervisor carmen chu and s.f. bar association which we recorded and is being aired cyclically on sfgov.
>> was there anybody from the building department? >> at that particular presentation, no. >> with regard to that, i mean not to -- why wouldn't we have representation there from the dbi, ma'am? >> that was probably an oversight in relationship to the coordination of the program with the sf bar association and not communicating all the different departments that may need to be there to represent and provide information. >> okay. just, you know, looking down the road here, we're all in this one together. we have a huge role to play and it's frustrating for us because we want to do all the right things. information is power, power is information to us. what is going on with the other departments so we're all on the same page with this, i don't know if any other commissioners want to weigh in on this, but it's very important. if we're to be successful and taken serious we genuinely want to resolve these issues that these small businesses are having out there, and not having somebody from the
department there i think is a huge mistake because ultimately we're the ones dealing with this. >> commissioner mar? >> maybe we could just let the director offer our services to other commissions, and even the supervisors. because i know that in different neighborhoods there's a lot of different merchants associations and i know sometimes the small business commission doesn't even reach all the little merchants in the different neighborhoods. and we have ethnic merchant associations, things like that. so, i think what president mccarthy said is the key, we want to do more education. we don't all have the resources. no department has all the resources so we can do it alone. i think maybe we could offer ourselves to do that. and also to work with some of the other supervisors. i know that supervisor chu has some legislation to deal with owners, not just the small business -- because a lot of small businesses are renters.
so, they move into a place thinking they can just open up as-is and then they get a lawsuit because it's not totally accessible. and then they get into a battle with the owner who said, wait, i just rented you the place as-is. i'm not doing nothing to the building. so, stuff like that. we just have to work more collectively so that especially the small independent businesses have a little bit of recourse that they can go to somebody and learn what they're getting into. >> and if i may add one thing. so, there is a senate bill 11 86 which they passed in the state or assembly and is currently on the governor's desk and i just received information today that he may veto it. but in it, it is -- if it does become into law, it will require that businesses pay an additional dollar, of which then -- in their business registration fee of which then
that money would be split between the state and the local entities to help with outreach and education. so, which is an important component for both of us in terms of being able to have materials and the means to be able to communicate to our businesses. so, just to make a note for that. >> just one question. is there an avenue to reach out to the property owners of these businesses? they're essentially a business as well. is there an avenue? >> there is the small property owners association which is one avenue to reach out to. i do know that from calls that i've received in our office from property owners that have gone through lawsuits, who are small property owners, there are usually one or two -- they may have one or two buildings,
their family or their properties have been handed down. so, they, too, are not that -- they're not informed of what their obligations are. and just like the small business, are surprised. and have indicated if i had known, then i would have done something. so, with supervisor david chu's legislation which is now in effect, it will require that the property owner does do a notification as to whether there are -- that it is up to the ten abt to make sure they understand about the accessibility of that property * . and we are working on a handout which i will be needing to consult with your department in finalizing that, that we're requiring the property owners to distribute at the time that they signed the lease to make sure that the tenant understands all the different
potential issues that may arise , you know, with the property. and understanding the distinction between the california building code and the federal a-d-a, especially for businesses that are doing tenant improvements under the valuation threshold. >> it's kind of relevant, but today between 1:00 and 4:00 at the special joint meeting of the access committee [speaker not understood] 2 001, there is going to be a meeting there between 1:00 and 4:00. at 1600. >> second floor? >> yes. it's part of my announcements there. >> inspector? >> wanted to let you know that that meeting is specifically for the development of language around touch screen control panels for elevators.
it doesn't have to do specifically with small businesses and cats, okay. that's what it is. >> okay. thank you. >> commissioners, is there any more comments on this item? seeing none. >> any public comment on item number 4? good morning, commissioners, henry [speaker not understood]. president of a small property owners in san francisco. so, i just wanted to let you know about the a-d-a, we will be having david chu coming to speak at our meeting unfortunately the next meeting coming up he can't meet it because the [speaker not understood] so he's going to miss that one. he will be coming after that. and one of the issues we're going to be talking about the s. a-d-a issue. i know a lot of small property
owners weren't really aware of it. so, just wanted to let you all know we are working on that. it's true, a lot of the small businesses don't have any idea until somebody gets a lawsuit and [speaker not understood] the property owner a lot of times says, hey, you rented it, that's what it is. put a disclaimer in the rental agreement. the other hat i have is also president of the council of district of merchants. i'm trying to cover both bases. everybody is aware, david chu is working on this, we're moving ahead. there is legislation going ahead with diane feinstein with a-d-a. that should also help out for businesses making less than $3.5 million a year. so, things are happening. i just want to let you know about that. >> thank you. thank you. >> thank you. next speaker. i'm carl. i just want to add kind of a
moment that i received yesterday. i was in a little coffee shop on 18th street. its was the owner's last day. about five years ago he purchased this restaurant and he went to the city building inspectors. he looked it over. he remodeled a bathroom to make it handicap accessible but they forgot to mention a two-inch lip. so, a year ago he was sued. he had to sell his business [speaker not understood]. the sad part about it is his two little kids he's trying to support and a family. so, i just wanted to kind of let you know this is a personal matter for people. and anything that you can do to help the small businesses without deterring people that are handicapped, if it's your power, do so. thank you. >> thank you. good morning, commission,
[speaker not understood], acting deputy director. as far as in-house cat training we were trying to get cat training for nearly eight months. the following year we had to get three vendors. we had two, but we need three for the controller [speaker not understood] to get three comparable bids because it is very expensive. we just recently got that and we should be getting approval in the near future for training for cats. we hope it will be within two months in the building department and it's going to be probably a four to five-day training class for the inspectors there. >> okay, there's no more comments on that. >> item number 5, discussion and possible action to amend building code table 1a through g, inspections surveys and reports to establish a premium report of residential record 3rp.
>> good morning, commissioners. bill strong with legislative public affairs. this item came about because last march you approved some code changes around permit extensions and expirations as well as some updates on different fees. and in the course of working with the city attorney's office on this, we discovered a little bit after the fact that the online publisher had failed to have the correct dollar item due to the fee studied from three years ago for our three r reports. as you probably know, as has been posted on our website for quite sometime now, the fee for 3r report is 160 under the fee
legislation was adopted by the board. for some reason the publisher had $100. so, this requires a certain amount of correction that we're in the process of doing and actually we've been working closely with john malmed and have some new legislation that the board will probably introduce next week to deal with all of these corrections, including that one. at the same time, we thought it an opportunity to offer a premium 3r service, which would mean that customers coming in who had an urgency similar to premium plan review could pay a little more and have the report generated in a shorter period of time. that, of course, is tied to staffing realities that we are still working on. so, this is a work in progress. it won't happen overnight, but
that's what this item is about for your discussion today. >> is there a comment? >> obviously the 3r, has been kind of -- maybe this is directed at you [speaker not understood]. so, as far as i understand, you're correcting the language from 100 to 160, correct, that's what this is all about in front of us? >> that's one of the items, yes. that's one part of one of the fee tables in this legislation that is being introduced at the board. >> right. okay. so, and i think your comments are very relevant to the point that this is obviously a service that is kind of tied to the staffing level. i get these expedited fees and so on, but they really don't mean very much to me if we have
to kind of rob peter to pay paul. and because i had more money in the bank to do it, r i get better service -- i want to kind of really be [speaker not understood] because that department is a very specialized department and, you know, as i had testimony here before after spending half a day there and a few other days there, i really see how well and how concentrated that work is and it takes a particular type of person to work there. and i understand how it is difficult sometimes to kind of staff up in that kind of department. so, i want to just go on the record a little bit. i'm all for this if you're willing to pay, but i don't want to see a situation where other workstations within that department suffer so that somebody can get expedited. so, i don't know if anybody wants to talk to that. >> [speaker not understood]. i appreciate your comments on the staffing and the ability to
respond to the increasing numbers of records requests, whether they be 3r or not. we are trying to get down to the envy of five days. we currently are on eight days. we started on 15 days about a month ago. we met with the realtors, the board of realtors, talked to them. they were expressed interest in having an expedited 3r report process. when i asked them what does that mean to them in terms of numbers of days, they said five days. our nbo is five days also. so, assuming that after we get staff and we can bring it down, we will be able to meet our nbo with the, you know, with the regular process rather than going for the expedited. but because there are so many -- i don't want to say "so" but
there are many fields that are going through, short sales that are going through with multi-million dollar cash deals. we felt that we needed to respond to this. and as you mentioned, it is dependent upon us being able to have the staff that can be assigned these duties and not negatively impact the rest of the work that they're doing. they're really working hard to try to bring things down and we're very appreciative of that. >> i think you said it there. they were at 15 days. we're down to 9 -- >> 8. >> which is in itself successful with the staffing levels and you're obviously day and night working on getting those positions filled which we don't need to get into. >> right. the other thing i wanted to say is that we're trying to see if
there's anyway that we can make it easier for people to do the work. and i've been down there this week going, spending the afternoon today to try to sit with people and see if there's anything that we can provide them that in some way can help them. i mean, one of the big problems is that you can barely read the plan, and they're using magnifying glasses. so, if there's a way we can make -- improve the process, we're trying to help them do that. >> director? >> the answer to your question is you were about maybe everybody want to expedite the process and impact everybody. right now business as usual, not a lot of cash -- some cash deals, you know, [speaker not
understood] the feeling is to get it done. what i'm thinking about, maybe only 10% request for total amount. then we will -- not everybody can request for it. we need to have a certain amount of percentage. we do approve by me or the [speaker not understood] level to make sure not everybody requests for that process. >> when we have the discussion with the realtors, they did say that it was the, you know, exception rather than the rule. but, you know, until we actually start the work, we won't be able to -- you know, we can set deadlines, but we have to, you know, look at how it's going and see whether it is 10% or we need to lower it and say -- because it seems like it's being over used or what. so, we're going to stay on top of that. >> commissioner walker? >> thank you for responding, because i know that the public has really asked us to hurry
this process up. so, i had the same concerns as commissioner mccarthy, that not only might it affect other aspects of our delivery of service, but it sort of disadvantages people who may not be able to afford doing a premium. so, i just would like to go on record saying i would rather that we actually increase effective service for everybody. and then if we find that there is a need for expedition beyond that, that we do it because it sounds to me like five days was expedited services compared to what we did. so, it might be unnecessary if we really focus our attention on providing delivery of faster service to everybody. >> that's what we're doing. we're really trying to figure out how to do that given the volume that we receive [inaudible]. >> exactly. it may be hard to draw a line as to who we can expedite and
who we cannot. >> commissioner lee. >> i share the same point of view. i mean, i would hate to think that multi-million dollar properties would get faster service than the average person that has 300, $400,000 property may not. i think there is an imbalance there. my question is what is the fee difference for the expedited service? did i miss that? >> so, the regular fee is $160 and we are proposing to charge the 160 plus $2 of the administrative fee that's established within the ordinance. what we're doing is -- and that's $104 -- two-hour, i'm not sure what i said. thank you, john. essentially what we have in there is that it will be the fee for a three-hour report
plus two hours of administrative fee. >> so, we're looking at 160 plus 2 times 100? >> yeah. it's 208. >> so, it essentially doubles the cost of what it is now, okay. >> that's it? >> the other thing we didn't mention in here, other changes in the ordinance was that we re-looked at the reproduction fees that we were charging. and what the state fee and the local -- the state law and the local code says. and essentially, you cannot charge for labor. so, we re-looked at the fees that we were charging to make sure that they were in line with what is required. and as much as that's not reflective of what was in the fee study, we have to do that
in order to comply with rules and regulations. >> i have a follow-up question now that i think about it. do we have a back-up plan if everybody decided to have the expedited service? >> they would -- the director said what we were going to do is say that only 10% of the fees. so, it 's first come first served and it has a ceiling. * >> okay. >> 10% per month? >> no, 10% -- the total received that day. per month? per month. >> so, there's a limit per month. so, after that if we limit it to 100, and you're 101st, we say sorry, we can't offer it to you any more. >> how do you know before the fact? how do you know how many you get in a month to say yes or
no? i mean, it's -- >> we know the average. we track what we get, and we can look at the, you know, we can calculate it that way. as i said before, we are really hoping we can get down to five days to satisfy everybody's needs and we wouldn't trigger this fee. and we have some -- you know, there are challenges, as you know, on hiring the staff and i'll mention that later on. however, we are close to even having a list of the [speaker not understood] and then we can do the canvassing and the recruitment. so, we are hoping that we will get the staff on board, but then there is the training. and i sat down there, and knowing what i know from the last several years on how to read the screens and knowing how the system works and
knowing how the various databases and having the detailed instructions in front of me, it is very complicated, and it will take some training of staff unless it's people that have come and grown up in the system. so, we'll try to make sure that we train people quickly and efficiently and effectively. >> okay. is there any more questions? no? once again, thanks. the commission appreciates your reaction to the questions like commissioner walker said. good. if there's no more, public comment i guess? >> public comment on item number 5? spencer gash, city building inspector for 22 years. so, let me get this straight. you're going to allow rich peep to pay more money to go to the front of the pack. not only rich people, but rich people who we determine is allow today do this.